A recent mathematical technique for solving systems of equations is applied in a very general way to the orbit determination problem. The study of this technique, the homotopy continuation method, was motivated by the possible need to perform early orbit determination with the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS), using range and Doppler tracking alone. Basically, a set of six tracking observations is continuously transformed from a set with known solution to the given set of observations with unknown solutions, and the corresponding orbit state vector is followed from the a priori estimate to the solutions. A numerical algorithm for following the state vector is developed and described in detail. Numerical examples using both real and simulated TDRSS tracking are given. A prototype early orbit determination algorithm for possible use in TDRSS orbit operations was extensively tested, and the results are described. Preliminary studies of two extensions of the method are discussed: generalization to a least-squares formulation and generalization to an exhaustive global method.